Know this: I am not a warrior. I am a disease.
When I was six, my parents died.
When I was sixteen, I was locked away in Rock Point Girls' Home. Nobody wants to deal with a liar. An addict. A thief.
Nobody except Alle. She is pure, and she's my friend in spite of all the rotten things I am.
There was once another girl like me-long ago. A cast-off daughter. A lying little beast who left a red stain across the land with her terrible magic. She's imprisoned now in a maze high up on the cliffs. They say she's half woman, half bull. They say she dines on human tributes and guards a vast treasure. They say she was born wicked.
But I know her better than the history books or stories do. She and I dream together. Our destinies are twisted up like vines.
Except I'm not going to turn out wicked like she is. I can save myself by destroying her. I'm going to break out of this place, and I'm going to enter the labyrinth and take her heart.
And once I'm redeemed, maybe Alle will love me.
Rock (The Grand Ballast) skillfully blends romantic adventure into a darkly gorgeous and psychologically rich retelling of Greek myth with queer women at its center. The ambiguous hero is brooding teen Thera Ballard, who has a tentative alliance with her fellow outcast girls of Rock Point Girls’ Home. Her deep fascination with the terrible half-woman, half-bull Minotaur (who often appears in her dreams) leads her to escape to the labyrinth at the edge of town. She voluntarily enters the maze in search of beauty and insight about the villain who “showed the hero who she might become.” The first part of the book is a down-to-earth story about coming of age in an institution with mean girls, dangerous secrets, and the stirrings of young love. Thera’s human perspective keeps the reader connected with the intense magical strangeness of the labyrinth and its inhabitants and phantoms, as well as with Thera’s emotional journey, as the text takes on the surrealism of a fairy tale. Rock changes the myth just enough to find a new message that feels like it was there all along. (Oct.)